A former Six Town Housing tenant tried to buy a council house she no longer lived in at a £42,000 discount.

Margaret McAlpine moved out of her two-bedroomed maisonette in Chapelfield, Radcliffe in 2011 and into a new house she had bought in Little Lever.

Five years later, she applied in February this year (2016) to purchase the Radcliffe property, declaring that she and her husband lived there. Had McAlpine still been a tenant at that address, she would have been entitled to the maximum 70% discount on the purchase price under Right to Buy rules, getting the £60,000 property for just £18,000.

But an investigation by Bury Council’s fraud team and Six Town Housing revealed that McAlpine’s daughter and son-in-law were actually living at the Chapelfield address. McAlpine (aged 54) had been paying the rent since 2011 using a bank card which was registered at her new address, claiming that was her daughter’s address.

At Manchester Crown Court this week (6 Dec 2016) McAlpine, now of Dulverton Gardens, Little Lever, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. She was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. She must also pay costs of £1,000 and a £100 victim surcharge.

Councillor Sandra Walmsley, Bury Council’s cabinet member for strategic housing and support services, said: “This property could have been used to house a family in real need but, because of McAlpine’s actions, has been unavailable for five years.

“We take housing fraud extremely seriously and are dedicated to making sure that social housing is available to those people who need it most.”

A spokesperson at Six Town Housing added, “If you suspect tenancy fraud of any kind in a property we manage, please get in touch with Bury Council or ourselves. We are committed to combating tenancy fraud and will treat all information in the strictest of confidence. All complaints will be investigated and action will be taken if it is taking place.”

The Chapelfield tenancy has now been terminated and the property re-let by Six Town Housing.

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